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Treaty of Paris (1259)

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Ratification of the Treaty of Paris by Henry III, 13 October 1259.
Archives Nationales (France).
The English Angevin Empire and France after the 1259 Treaty of Paris.

The 1259 Treaty of Paris, also known as the Treaty of Abbeville, was a peace treaty agreed between King Louis IX of France and King Henry III of England on 4 December 1259, briefly ending a century-long conflict between the Capetian and Plantagenet dynasties.


The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, created an awkward situation whereby the kings of England were sovereign over some of their territory but bound by homage to the kings of France for other rich and well-populated lands on the Continent. William attempted to separate the two areas between his heirs, but subsequent fighting and inheritance not only reunited England and Normandy but greatly expanded English territory within France. King John's refusal to answer Philip II of France for the apparent murder of his teenage nephew Arthur gave Philip a pretext for recovering Normandy in 1204. The English recovered the Channel Islands and remained in control of Aquitaine, however, and, despite the 1217 Treaty of Lambeth, both the English and French kings continually engaged in wars of conquest and reconquest over Normandy and their borderlands.


Under the treaty, Henry acknowledged the loss of the Duchy of Normandy. Henry agreed to renounce control of Maine, Anjou, and Poitou, which had also been lost under the reign of King John, but remained Duke of Aquitaine as a vassal to Louis. In exchange, Louis withdrew his support for English rebels. He also ceded to Henry the bishoprics and cities of Limoges, Cahors, and Périgueux and was to pay an annual rent for his continued occupation of Agenais.[1]

Despite acknowledging the loss of Normandy, the treaty separately held that "islands (if any) which the King of England should hold" would be retained by him "as peer of France and Duke of Aquitaine".[2] Along with subsequent English denunciations of their French vassalage, this formed the basis of the special situation of the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and some smaller islands), which have been held directly by the English Crown without formal incorporation into the Kingdom of England or its successor states.


Doubts on the treaty's interpretation began almost as soon as it was signed.[3] The agreement continued the unstable situation whereby English monarchs were obliged to submit to the French kings for disputes over their territories on the continent. The French historian Édouard Perroy considered that the Treaty of Paris "was at the very root of the Hundred Years' War."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harry Rothwell (Editor) English Historical Documents 1189–1327, Routledge, 1996, ISBN 0-415-14368-3 [page needed]
  2. ^ Summaries of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders of the International Court of Justice: Minquiers and Ecrehos Case Judgment of 17 November 1953
  3. ^ Hersch Lauterpacht, Volume 20 of International Law Reports, Cambridge University Press, 1957, p. 130, ISBN 0-521-46365-3
  4. ^ Perroy, Édouard (1959). The Hundred Years War (First English edition. Trans. W. B. Wells. ed.). London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. p. 61.